The NFL Draft is in the rear-view mirror and OTA’s are well underway. For most teams, this means that the roster is usually set and all eyes are on maximizing its potential. However, the Eagles are not most teams. Having failed to address the dire need for a cornerback to partner Darius Slay on the outside, Howie Roseman will undoubtedly be a little antsy. This isn’t the first time the Eagles have been in this spot though…
In the Summer of 2017, during a gruelling Training Camp, the Eagles were once again in dire need of a CB2. They had previously signed Patrick Robinson to fill that void, but it was clear that he was at his best when working out of the nickel. After a couple of tumultuous weeks that saw the former Colts CB torched by Torrey Smith and bullied by Alshon Jeffery, Howie had seen enough.
He called up the Bills and made a trade that shocked Eagles fans across the country. Jordan Matthews, a former second-round pick, best friend of Carson Wentz, and easily the teams’ most productive receiver, was packaged in a deal with the Bills in exchange for young cornerback Ronald Darby.
Matthews was set to be a free agent after the upcoming season and after rallying to 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns in three campaigns for the Eagles, ranking among the best slot receivers in the entire league. The Eagles decided to cash in before it was too late and bring in a name who had the speed to man the outside and allow Robinson to thrive in the nickel.
History repeating itself?
This is where the Deja Vu sets in. The Philadelphia Eagles are in search of a CB2 once again and have sat patiently waiting for the right opportunity. When people look at potential trade assets on the roster, it’s easy to point to Zach Ertz. The Stanford product gave an emotional press conference after the final game of the season and it was widely assumed that after failed contract negotiations and a torrid year, Ertz would be on the way out. Up to this point, that has not been the case.
If the Eagles were going to trade Zach Ertz, they would have by now. The truth is that there has not been an offer made that is enough to convince Howie Roseman that he’d be getting good value in return. If it didn’t happen during the NFL Draft, the chances are it’s probably not going to.
Nick Sirianni has spoken glowingly of the veteran tight end as well and it would be easy to see how Ertz could be convinced to give it one more shot in Philadelphia. If Nick Sirianni is able to wipe the slate clean and present a renewed sense of belonging, which is all Ertz wanted, then maybe his last chapter will have a happy ending after all.
The one tight end that nobody has mentioned in these discussions is Dallas Goedert.
Does trading Dallas Goedert make sense?
Just like Jordan Matthews was in 2017, Goedert is entering his contract year. He’s also a former second-round pick.
The difference here is that many feel Goedert’s production has been capped by the fact Zach Ertz has always been the teams’ TE1. While this may be the case, injuries and some poor hands at times have left him with a career which up to this point has shown so many flashes and just as many clouds.
Even last year, with Ertz disappearing off the face of the Earth, he was really unable to make the most of a grand opportunity. He posted 524 Yards (down from 607 in 2019) on 46 receptions. He did miss five games, but still started 9 and missed around 166 snaps compared to the year before. Despite reps as the lone tight end on the roster, he really struggled to build a consistent resume. For context, Richard Rodgers caught 345 yards worth of passes on just 274 snaps, nearly a third of the amount Goedert featured in.
This is a big year for Dallas Goedert and while we can’t really base what Nick Sirianni will do this season based purely on the history of his Colts offense, it is safe to say that tight ends are not the stars of the show. An eclectic backfield and diverse wide receiver group take center stage for the most part.
Mo Allie-Cox led the Colts TE’s in receiving last year with 394 yards. Jack Doyle led the way in 2019 with 448. Eric Ebron’s final season in Indy saw him post 750, but their WR corps was lacking in a big way. With that in mind, the Eagles now have a ton of depth at both wide receiver and running back and it’s hard to imagine that there will be a huge chunk of volume flowing to the tight end position.
Cons to moving on from Dallas Goedert
There are two main issues in moving on from Goedert. The first is that the depth behind him largely consists of unproven talent or players who have recently switched to the position. The second is that he is easily the best blocking tight end on the team and Nick Sirianni places a heavy emphasis on running the ball.
Whether or not the coaching staff feel they could coach up some of the other names on the roster to fill that void, or even look at cheap free agent options (Richard Rodgers rodeo #4?), is another question entirely, but if the right deal comes along, is it really that illogical to see Howie Roseman pulling the trigger?
We know there are still TE-needy teams on the roster. The Patriots, for instance, have gotten as much receiving yards from their tight ends over the past couple of years as the Eagles had interceptions last year. Okay, not quite, but close enough. Hunter Henry will look to change that, but a strong TE2 would make sense.
They also have a very shiny cornerback in the way of Stephon Gilmore who has been dangled loosely in trade talks all offseason. This would be a monumental trade and it’s an unlikely one, but it’s at least plausible.
The Chargers parted ways with Hunter Henry and drafted Tre McKitty. Behind Jared Cook only sits Donald Parham Jr. Goedert would be an immediate upgrade on arguably all three, at the very least the final two.
The Texans are very light on reliable TE depth and while rookie Brevin Jordan is exciting, Dallas Goedert would act as a great stop-gap while he develops. They also have a very enticing CB2 candidate in the way of Bradley Roby.
There are a lot of ifs, buts, and maybes here, however, we’ve seen this before. Howie Roseman isn’t the kind of GM to preach patience and accept mediocrity in the process. If there’s a chance he can develop young players while still remaining competitive, especially with a trio of first-round picks at his disposal next year, there’s no questioning that he will. Trading Dallas Goedert would mirror the move made back in 2017 when the team parted ways with Jordan Matthews…but would it yield similar results?
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